You can still be laid off. It's not uncommon for companies to do this. They will lay off an injured worker and say it was a general layoff of several people due to the economy of the business, etc. Sometimes they are legitimate but many times they are not.
Be sure to speak with a workers' compensation lawyer about your specific situation because even if they lay you off they still would need to pay your compensation rate to you each week. This is 66% of your average weekly income averaged over the course of 52 weeks.
If you believe they laid you off due to your workers' compensation case then you may have a REDA (Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act) claim. These are often difficult to prove but a good workers' compensation attorney will be able to start dissecting your situation to see what the best way to move forward is.
You can be laid off and you probably do NOT have any legal recourse unless you can prove that you were laid off BECAUSE you filed a WC claim.
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Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links:
North Carolina is a "right to work" state, which actually means a "right to get fired" state. The only protections you have related to the comp claim are that, if you are on physical restrictions at the time of layoff, the workers' compensation carrier may be obligated to start paying you weekly disability payments during the healing period. If you recover from your injury, but have permanent restrictions that would have prevented you from doing your full duty job, they may owe continuing benefits until you find new employment within your permanent restrictions.
This communication is not intended to establish a lawyer-client relationship. Any advice is intended for the general public and may not be appropriate for a particular case. Talk to an attorney about all the details of your case before taking any action.
I agree with Mr. Bernanke. I would add that North Carolina has a retaliatory discharge law that states that you can not be fired because you filed a workers' compensation claim. However, you can be laid off for any other reason. It is often difficult to prove that the were laid off in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation case. Make an appointment with a workers' compensation attorney for a consolation. Provide the attorney with all the facts of your case and let him or her advise you on your rights. The statute of limitations on filing a retaliatory discharge claim is very short so do not delay.
I am licensed to practice law only in North Carolina. My answer provides only general information. Do not rely on this answer as specific legal advice for your particular situation. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney to fully discuss your situation and to obtain advise about your legal rights and obligations.